Retreats: gatherings in several cities, the Concorde prohibited in Paris

Opponents of the pension reform take advantage of the weekend to express their anger, after the activation of 49

Retreats: gatherings in several cities, the Concorde prohibited in Paris

Opponents of the pension reform take advantage of the weekend to express their anger, after the activation of 49.3 and before the debate on the motions of censure, in rallies in the regions and in Paris, where the Concorde is now banned to protesters.

The Place de la Concorde was placed under the very high surveillance of hundreds of police officers, and water cannons were prepositioned there. The police carried out numerous searches of passers-by and asked people to circulate, according to AFP journalists.

At 7:00 p.m., the square was emptied of hundreds of people present an hour earlier who were walking around without signs or banners, making it impossible to say whether they were passers-by or potential demonstrators.

The prefecture had announced earlier that any gathering was prohibited at this place, located a few hundred meters from the National Assembly and the Elysée, a rallying point for opponents of the reform on Thursday and Friday evening. On Friday, violent clashes occurred, with 61 arrests in the end.

Also in Paris, the CGT Ile-de-France organized a rally in Place d'Italie (south of Paris), which turned into a procession and went up to the north of the capital. Among the participants, Ms. Allemand (who did not wish to give her first name), technician at Public Health France, said "to be worn out by work". "I sit in front of the computer all day, my eyes hurt, my head hurts, I've already had two phlebitis," says this 55-year-old woman.

Clashes with the police broke out at the end of the evening, with throwing of projectiles, trash fires and barricades. According to a police source, 81 people were arrested in and around Place d'Italie, where calm returned around 10:30 p.m.

A few hundred demonstrators marched in Marseille. Including Romain Morizot, 33, a telecom engineer in aviation, who testifies: "What do we have left apart from continuing to demonstrate? We only have mobilization, which was peaceful until 49.3. But now, it will potentially put social tension everywhere. We will continue, we have no choice".

The gatherings took place in several places in the regions, from large cities to medium-sized towns: Lille, Amiens, Caen, Saint-Etienne, Roanne, Besançon, Dijon, Grenoble, Gap, Annecy, Lodève etc.

Some processions counted several thousand people, such as in Nantes (6,000 according to the police, 15,000 according to the unions) or Brest (between 5 and 8,000), with some tension. In Bordeaux, an improvised procession brought together 1,900 people according to the prefecture.

In Lyon, the prefecture announced on Twitter the arrest of 15 people after incidents caused by "groups of violent individuals" near Place Bellecour.

Thursday, shortly after the recourse by Elisabeth Borne to article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows the adoption of a text without a vote, except motion of censure, the inter-union had called for rallies this weekend. And to a 9th day of strikes and demonstrations on March 23.

"The President of the Republic is obviously following the evolution of the situation" on the ground, Emmanuel Macron's entourage told AFP.

According to the monthly Ifop barometer published by the Journal du Dimanche, Emmanuel Macron's popularity collapsed in March, to 28%, the lowest since emerging from the "yellow vests" crisis in 2019. D 'After this study carried out with 1,928 people between March 9 and 16, i.e. before the use of 49.3, the Head of State is 70% dissatisfied.

On the strike side, the shutdown of the largest refinery in the country, the Normandy refinery (TotalEnergies), in Seine-Maritime, began Friday evening, told AFP Alexis Antonioli, CGT manager. This operation will take several days and should not cause immediate fuel shortages at gas stations across the country.

Until now, the strikers had contented themselves with blocking fuel shipments, but the refineries continued to produce.

Industry Minister Roland Lescure hinted on Saturday that the government would make requisitions in the event of a shutdown.

Such measures are "being deployed" with Parisian garbage collectors, he added. In the capital, 10,000 tons of garbage still pile up on the sidewalks, according to the town hall. She evokes Saturday "stabilization" of the volume of waste not collected in the capital.

According to the prefecture, "five dump truck garages have resumed activity" and "two treatment concession companies as well as several agents (have) been required since" Friday.

The motions of censure, tabled by the independent group Liot and by elected members of the National Rally (RN), will be debated and put to the vote in the National Assembly on Monday from 4:00 p.m., we learned from parliamentary sources.

The motion tabled by the small group Libertés, Indépendants Outre-mer et Territoires (Liot) is "transpartisan" and co-signed by elected officials from Nupes.

The latter is more likely to be voted by right-wing deputies unfavorable to pension reform than that of the RN. But the absolute majority bar to bring down the government seems difficult to achieve.


03/19/2023 03:59:39 -         Paris (AFP) -          © 2023 AFP